By Katie Shuff
London was once again calling as it welcomed the return of London Collections: Men, the three day fashion hurrah, showcasing London’s finest menswear designers. As the glitterati of finely dressed menswear aficionados stepped out in style onto London’s swinging embankments, they were treated to an overwhelming selection of standout shows, proving just why London is at the heart of men’s fashion. As to be expected, collections proved to be hugely dynamic and varied, ranging from Burberry’s classic cuts to full on nineties pop art patterns at Moschino. The unifying factor, the quality and unrelenting vision of Britain’s best designers.
Always hotly anticipated, Christopher Bailey certainly did not disappoint with his latest offering for the Burberry Prorsum menswear collection. Inspired by an aging pale pink book cover of celebrated author and travel writer, Bruce Chatwin, Bailey created a collection which perfectly exuded the author’s nomadic lifestyle and perceived easy spirit. The simple nature of Bailey’s velvet blazers and waxy macs in lustrous yet earthy hues of plum, ochre, olive green and cobalt as well as boxy denim jackets stayed true to the refined aesthetic of any travel writer. Pharrell-esque bucket hats provided a light hearted touch to Bailey’s retro take on quintessential British dressing, whilst the brightly patterned trainers kept the collection looking fresh and contemporary. With the likes of David Gandy, Tinie Tempah and Jordan Dunn all watching front row, Bailey demonstrated just why Burberry is at the forefront of British fashion.
Burberry wasn’t the only brand to showcase splashes of colour, with the likes of Alexander McQueen, Craig Green and Jimmy Choo all opting for a colour palette of eye-catching primary colours. At Alexander McQueen, starch white roller neck jumpers, suit jackets and loosely fitting trousers acted as a blank canvas for splodges of colour to fall haphazardly around the body, acting as a subtle nod to traditional Japanese Kabuki colours. Cobalt blues stood out at Craig Green against a backdrop of other black and white ensembles. This was also echoed at Jimmy Choo’s first runway presentation, in which aquamarine brogues and sapphire infused trainers were allowed to make a statement against all white and black loosely tailored pieces.
Despite London’s renowned expertise along Saville Row, tailoring was surprisingly loose and oversized this season. At JW Anderson pinstriped suits and vests were loosely tied around the male body with trousers falling just so to create the ultimate slouchy effect. Oversized satin smocks paired with boxy shorts featured at Jonathan Saunders, whilst loose fitting ankle grazing trousers prevailed at Oliver Spencer. This divergence from clean cut tailoring may be the result of designer’s taking inspiration from Japan this season. Kimono-esque pieces and karate uniform inspired pieces made an appearance at the likes of Alexander McQueen and Astrid Anderson. But it was the hotly tipped British designer, Craig Green who fully grappled with the Japanese look. In a debut solo collection which proved to be beautifully clean and simple, models marched down the runway barefoot, styled in oversized padded tunics which had been tied at the side. Wide legged, fringed trousers were a definite nod to martial art uniforms, whilst collarless, loosely fitting pyjama-like shirts, nonchalantly belted around the middle acted as a subtle reference to celebrated Japanese designers such as Yohji Yamamoto. Green continued to demonstrate his fascination with wooden constructions by sending a handful of models down the runway with a large frame attached to their backs from which a piece of material billowed theatrically behind. Green himself dubbed the show as a ‘silent protest’, echoing the raw yet powerful feel of his designs.
Continuing this haphazard approach to tailoring, JW Anderson was once again redefining our sartorial expectations. Bows and ties were found on everything from coats to off the shoulder makeshift style tops which had been tied at the top and bottom. But perhaps most notable were the offerings of shirts complete with pussy-bow blouse ties, more apt on a woman some would argue. In striking blue and white, and olive green and grey striped options, these are certainly not one for the introverts amongst us, yet they continue the theme of gender blending which has proven to be a prominent element on both the men and women’s collections of recent.
Another element which designer’s cannot seem to shake off at the moment is their penchant for all things nineties. At Moschino, Jeremy Scott, sent models down the runway in brash iconic pop prints, think suits printed with drinks packaging, smiley faces galore in a colourful array of patterns, as well as jumpers and leggings cobbled out of colour clashing flags. Tight fitting tops slashed at the sides at Craig Green also seemed to act as a subtle nod to the infamous nineties raver. At Topman Design, it was as if Liam Gallagher had met Seth Cohen of OC fame, think oversized parkas, complete with shaggy green fur trimming around the hood teamed with seventies inspired retro print shirts which would not look out of place on the most respected and perhaps most stereotypical American ‘nerd’. Proving that not everything translates from runway to reality, the bell bottom trousers which also featured on the Topman runway should, however, be left well and truly in the past.
Another quirk to this year’s London Collections: Men was the rising number of mixed sex runways. Arguably, it was the impressive stature of the dreadlock beehives and skimpy swimsuits of the girls which stole the show at Moschino. Sibling also produced his and her denim ensembles, proving that the girls had it just as good as the guys.
Photography courtesy of theguardian.com, vogue.uk